In a successful company, the role of the sales manger dramatically shifted in the last two years as the marketplace transitioned into the hands of buyers. When the boom years were in full swing, the job description for managers was to meet the demands of new construction. The high-demand market funneled sales right into their hands, so all managers had to do was oversee contracts, financing and paperwork in order to keep sales smoothly flowing. In reality, the manager was an administrator or facilitator who controlled countless details to insure an uninterrupted delivery of homes and closings.
In the marketplace today, that job description is no longer relevant. It has switched from paperwork to people work. To succeed in the current new home sales environment, managers must focus on developing people instead of property. They are forced to shift their time from working in the office to working in the field.
As a manger, you need to put down the ballpoint pen and take up the baton so you can drum up enthusiasm in your sales team and lead each member toward the goal line. It’s time to get the lead out of more than your pencil and begin creating sales — not just maintaining them.
How do you do this? In my estimation, there are nine key areas where you should invest your time:
1) Planning and organizing
2) Recruiting the right people (not necessarily the best)
9) Percentage of time in the field coaching (on site in the models)
Analyze carefully where you are spending your time in the marketplace. In all probability, you are like the majority of sales managers today — spending the least amount of time in the field or in the models where you should be coaching individual team members on how to attract buyers.
The bottom line is that all management is aimed at increasing results and outputs. The reality is that, in today’s market, if 50% of your time is not in the field coaching, then there is a gross misappropriation of your time.
The old adage "never major in minors" applies. Paperwork shouldn’t overshadow people work. Hanging around the office overseeing contracts is minor compared to getting out and making contacts.
In addition to your focus, your schedule must change. Before, when the job meant overseeing an administration, the schedule was Monday through Friday. That almost made sense (though not perfect sense) because sales were driven by the market and the manager was facilitating the sales when the administrative staff was available, which was usually on weekdays. But now that the description of the job has changed, so has the schedule. The type of leader needed at the moment is a coach; and coaches cannot afford to be absent on game days. When are game days in new home sales? Saturday and Sunday, of course. Think it through. As a leading sales manager, taking off on the weekend is akin to an NFL coach saying, "It’s enough that I coach during the weekdays. I’m not showing up on game days. My team can handle the challenges without me."
Effective management always begins with successful self-management. You must master yourself before you can direct others. Motivator Nido Qubein asserts that there are three management styles: disciplined, casual or sloppy. With the different marketplace we have at present, even a casual management style will result in casualties.
Great results, regardless of the market, are achieved by spirit, conviction and hard work. It follows that the success of a company is ultimately up to its leaders; not the salespeople.
Just as it’s the writer and not the pen or the archer and not the arrow so it’s the sales manager and not the sales team who will make your company a winner.